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Adams Questions Minister on Research Report into Symphysiotomy

23 June, 2011


The Sinn Féin leader, who held an adjournment debate on this issue in the Dáil in April, has tabled a series of PQs to the minister seeking additional detail on the report.
The Louth and East Meath TD said:
“Many of the survivors of symphysiotomy want a full public inquiry into the use of this practice in Irish hospitals.

“The proposed independent research report falls far short of this. Neither is it an independent inquiry. It is important that the minister provide full details about the proposed report.

“I have tabled a series of PQs asking the minister for the full remit of the independent research report commissioned by the Dept of Health; what period of time has been allowed for its completion; will it be made public; how widely will the independent researcher consult in preparing the report and will victims of symphysiotomy be consulted; and will the minister consider the holding of a public inquiry into the practice of symphysiotomy for the publication of the report?

“Symphysiotomy is a scandal which demands redress.

“At least 1,500 symphysiotomies were carried out on women in this state between 1944 and 1984 at a time when the rest of the medical profession outside of Ireland were using caesarean sections.

“Patients were rarely asked for their consent and most were never told of the nature of the surgery or its risks or offered the safer alternative of a caesarean section.

“The consequence for the victim of this procedure was often chronic pain, incontinence and a lifetime of medical intervention. One child in ten died.

“Increasing age has meant that many of the women who were subjected to this barbarous practice have difficulty walking.”

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